Thank you Madam President,
Norway welcomes the presentation of the National Report by the delegation of Sri Lanka. We acknowledge Sri Lanka’s challenges over the past four years and commend the achievements made, especially in the field of economic recovery.
We would like to highlight three areas where we see potential for improvement:
- In 2008 Sri Lanka pledged to investigate attacks and abductions of human rights defenders, journalists and civilians. Norway notes with concern the lack of progress in this area. We recommend that legislation to ensure the Right to Information is enacted and brought in line with international human rights standards.
- Norway is concerned about the low number of elected women in Sri Lankan politics. We recommend that Sri Lanka takes concrete measures in implementing the 30 % quota for women in the nomination lists at national, provincial and local elections as pledged in the National Human Rights Action Plan.
- Independent civilian institutions and power sharing mechanisms are of utmost importance to ensure democratic space. Norway recommends Sri Lanka to strengthen the independence of institutions such as the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the Police Commission and Election Commission.
Norway has been a long standing partner to Sri Lanka. We would like to repeat our sincerity in supporting the country and its people through these crucial transition times.
I thank you, Madame President.
1. Norway is concerned about the continuation of the strong military presence in the north and the limitations this presents to the freedom of movement and assembly as well as the personal security of women in these areas. When will Provincial Council Elections to be held in the North and full civilian administration be reinstated in the previously war affected areas?
2. What steps will Government take to follow up the recommendation accepted by Sri Lanka in the 2008 UPR to “strengthen and ensure the independence of its Human Rights Commission”, and other institutions like the Police Commission and Election Commission ?
3. What measures will the Government take to ensure that all attacks and abductions of human rights defenders, journalists and civilians are investigated and that those responsible are brought to justice?
4. We note the high number of outstanding visits by special procedures, especially the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances. To enhance a national healing process it is important that family members get access to information on the fate of their missing relatives. What concrete measures is the Government taking to grant families the access to such information?
5. Norway is concerned about the cases of arbitrary arrests and torture by security and law enforcement agencies frequently reported in Sri Lanka, despite Article 11 in Chapter 3 of the 1978 Constitution that guarantees every person the right to freedom from Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, and Sri Lanka’s commitment in 2008 to implement safeguards to prevent torture. What are the concrete measures taken by the Government to strengthen the rule of law and to address impunity?
6. Norway commends Sri Lanka for implementing the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, and encourages that this is used fully to support the victims of violence. The protection situation for women in the former war affected areas is however still difficult and a high number of single women and war widows face particular vulnerabilities in the returnee communities. It is important that the security, empowerment and rights of women in the former war affected areas are ensured through national mechanisms and an effective civil administration and police. What measures is the Government taking to maintain women’s desks, staffed by female police, in the police stations?